Once again Shri Advani took the lead in mobilising public opinion against these draconian, anti-democratic, anti-people measures. He planned a four-pronged yatra, to be led by senior leaders of the party. Thus was born the Janadesh Yatra with the purpose of seeking the people's mandate against the two Bills, the Constitution 80th Amendment Bill and the Representation of People (Amendment) Bill.
Nineteen Ninety-Three. Backed by the Marxists and other assorted pseudo-secularists, the Rao Government introduced two draconian Bills -- the Constitution 80th Amendment Bill and the Representation of People (Amendment) Bill -- with the dual purpose of banning religion from public life as well as denying political space to the BJP. The underpinning of these proposed legislations, as in the past, was minority appeasement and crass votebank politics. The BJP stalled the Bills in Parliament and the debate was deferred, although the Bills were not withdrawn. "We strongly object to religion being translated as dharma... for the average Indian, irrespective of whether he is a Hindu, or a Muslim or a Christian, his respective religion is for him an inspiration for righteous conduct. By ousting religion from politics, we will only be weakening the moral base of public life... politics should be cleansed of adharma, not dharma. It should be rid of corruption and criminalisation, not of probity and integrity..."
The BJP's opposition was articulated by Shri Advani:
Through these Bills, the pseudo-secularists sought to achieve four principal objectives:
- Subvert the basic scheme of elections and allow pre-emptive disqualification;
- Provide constitutional legitimacy to banning organisations;
- Make the state irreligious rather than one which respects all religions equally;
- Allow the summary deregistration of political parties.
Once again Shri Advani took the lead in mobilising public opinion against these draconian, anti-democratic, anti-people measures. He planned a four-pronged yatra, to be led by senior leaders of the party. Thus was born the Janadesh Yatra with the purpose of seeking the people's mandate against the two Bills.
The four yatras began on September 11, 1993, the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, from four corners of the country. Shri Advani himself led the yatra from Mysore; Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat from Jammu; Shri Murli Manohar Joshi from Porbandar; and, Shri Kalyan Singh from Calcutta. Travelling through 14 States and two Union Territories, the yatris congregated at Bhopal on September 25 in a massive rally. The Janadesh Yatra was a runaway success.
It was, by all accounts, an unprecedented programme of mass contact; a programme that took the debate on the 'religion Bills' from the antiseptic drawing rooms of Delhi to the dusty villages of Bharat. Once again, while the BJP's detractors schemed and plotted iii the national Capital, the BJP went to the nation's people!
Shri Advani had a tremendous response in Naxalite Telegana. Huge crowds greeted Shri Joshi in Ahmedabad. The tumultuous response to Shri Kalyan Singh in Calcutta prompted The Indian Express to headline its report: 'Red City Turns Saffron", a report which acknowledged, 'the city will perhaps never be the same again." In terrorism-affected Punjab, for the first time in a decade a political party had come out in such a big way: As crowds greeted Shri Shekhawat, officials thanked him, saying the yatra had helped revive the morale of the administration.
The Bills were never passed. Indeed, its proponents, clearly scared by the public rejection of their dubious move, could not summon the courage to initiate a debate. The adharmic move of the pseudo-secularists was one again defeated by the forces of dharma. The evocative theme of the Janadesh Yatra, "Loktantra Rakshanaye, Dharmachakra Pravartanaye". proved a winner.